Is your Boss killing your ideas?

When you speak to talented professionals, more often than not one item comes up either during the Q&A at the end or when we huddle and talk in groups after the talk. That one item is about their Boss killing their ideas ruthlessly.

If you are one of those people whose ideas were killed, you know that it is a super frustrating feeling.

On the other hand, if you are that Boss, you probably can guess how frustrating the feeling is for the person whose idea you just killed. In your case, the problem is complicated as you have many talented team members pitching you ideas all the time and the organization has limited resources to pursue a small number of ideas that align with its priorities.

I have written about this issue several times before so I will focus on only one part of this in this article.

How do you handle the issue of your Boss killing your ideas?

Here are three things to consider:

The first thing to remember is that an idea is rarely looked at its merits on a standalone basis. Your idea is one of the many on his or her table and he or she has to pick among the best available options at that point in time. So, even if you think you have a great idea, it will face an uphill battle to get to the top of the heap.

Antidote: The way capitalize on this is to clearly know both your organization’s priorities, your Boss’ priorities and what else is on the table of your Boss. With that knowledge, you can paint a picture with your idea

The second thing to remember (and probably more important than the first one) is that every idea has a weight associated with it and the major part of the weight for your idea comes from “who you are” to the Boss and to the organization. Think of it as a number between 0 and 1 assigned to you. Let’s say it is 0.6. The moment you state your idea, it gets discounted by 40% in the the Boss.

Antidote: Your goal in your corporate journey is to increase that default number assigned to you. While it’s a number between 0 to 1, we both know that there are people in your organization who have numbers that are more than 1. An idea from those people is always favored.

The third thing to remember is that while you are thinking about the “idea,” your Boss is thinking also about the “execution of the idea” and ALL changes needs to be made with people and systems to make this a reality. If the story does not pan out well in his or her mind, the idea gets rejected quickly.

Antidote: There are two things you need to become really good at – 1) continuing beyond the idea alone and thinking about all aspects of execution 2) the art of telling a great story. You will need to learn to market your idea however good it is and telling a good story about it is a great start to your marketing efforts.

Last but not the least, cut some slack and put yourself in the shoes of your Boss and move on to the next idea. You are smart and the idea that got rejected is not the LAST great idea that you will ever get.

Carpe Diem!

Photo Courtesy: YTruly on Flickr